Prophets and priest teach the form of Tao.
Tao’s essence cannot be taught.
It is latent,
And cannot be known by learning.
Why do religions wither and become extinct? Because they are only the works of people. After all, religion and spirituality, though related, are not synonymous. Religion is the creation of people and cultures. Spirituality is the direct personal relationship with Tao. Religions often degenerate into convention, ritual, and corruption. They are imperfect. When their creators fade, even the holiest words gradually lose their power.
Our spiritual problems don’t substantially differ from those of our ancestors, and today’s truths still attempt to find the same spirituality as before. Why? Because all truths eventually point to Tao, and Tao has always existed latently, unbroken and eternal. We may begin our investigations in the realm of the religious, but once we clear away the distortions and interfering aspects of our own consciousness, we enter the realm of Tao. Once that happens, there is no need for religions.
If we were to have a genuine spiritual experience, it would be lunacy to then go out and try to become religious leaders. We would only be repeating the same mistakes of countless other genuine seekers. It would be far better simply to be a nameless follower of Tao. Then we avoid the contradictions of social action.